Editor’s Note: Peter was a Canadian champion and Davis Cup player and became a long-time broadcaster for the Canadian Open. He was also a great coach, having worked with Gold medal winner Sebastien Lareau. But Peter’s most significant contribution was the creation of PBI, a never duplicated tennis industry leader.
On July 7, Peter Burwash a legend in the tennis industry passed away in his hometown of Carmel, California. Peter, originally from Canada, leaves behind his wife Lynn and his daughters Kimberley and Skyler.
Peter Burwash was one of the most iconic and influential managers and coaches the tennis industry has ever had the pleasure to learn from and collaborate with. After retiring from professional tennis in 1975, he founded Peter Burwash International (PBI), an international tennis management company. PBI was the first of its kind in the racquet sports industry, and for decades remained the largest tennis management company in the world. With PBI, Peter introduced new standards to the teaching industry and introduced a new generation of tennis coaches to the game. Peter encouraged professionals to model the highest professionalism and customer service and urged them to inspire and improve the lives of everyone they touch on a court. PBI professionals have taught more than 4 million players in 134 countries, and as early pioneers of the game, PBI introduced tennis for the first time to over a dozen countries.
Burwash was a United States Professional Tennis Association Master Professional and widely considered one of the world’s top tennis coaches. Peter gave workshops to coaches at conferences for the USTA, USPTA, in Europe, Middle East and Asia. Peter and his pros have worked with numerous ATP and WTA players,
including Venus and Serena Williams, Leander Paes, Greg Rusedski, Andrew Sznajder, and Canadian Sébastien Lareau when he won the gold medal in doubles with countryman Daniel Nestor at the 2000 Olympics as well as Davis Cup and Federation Cup teams.
Whether as an author, television commentator or instruction editor, Peter has given insight and added enjoyment to tennis players everywhere. His book “Tennis For Life” has been an industry best-sellers and translated into several languages. For 27 years, he was a color commentator with CBC & TSN, hosted tennis radio series on CBS radio and hosted a Celebrity Tennis Program on CBC-TV. Peter also served as an editor instructor for Tennis Magazine for over 25 years.
As an author of over 10 books on service and leadership, and a successful entrepreneur, Peter has also been an international speaker for many Fortune 500 companies, emphasizing service, leadership and ‘giving back’ – the very qualities that he has shown in the tennis industry, and that have resulted in a transcendent impact.
Peter has also been the recipient of numerous awards, including six hall of fame inductions for the tennis industry, the USPTA, the Hawaii USTA, the University of Toronto Sport, International Tennis Hall of Fame Educational Merit Award, and the Northern California USTA.
As a philanthropist, Peter has been instrumental with many charitable initiatives. He became personally engaged and inspired many others to give back to a charity foundation that educated the poorest of the poor in Vrindavan, India. Thanks to Peter’s support and service, thousands of girls received the gift of hope for a better life.
During his 50-year legacy, as a player, coach, coach of coaches, speaker, entrepreneur, author, editor, commentator and traveler he inspired a global tennis community and leaves a lot of meaningful memories in many tennis hearts across the globe. Peter’s diversity and selfless service to tennis and people he met made him an exceptional personality in our industry.
In December of 2021, PBI joined forces with Troon to combine knowledge and expertise with the best in sports and hospitality, and the Troon Family of companies looks forward to continuing and growing Peter’s legacy.
René Zondag, PBI president since 2016, shared the following: “We are deeply saddened about the news of Peter’s passing and our first thoughts are with his wife Lynn and their daughters Kimberley and Skyler. Without their support and love, Peter would never have been able to achieve all he has. The world loses an incredible teacher, coach and ambassador of the sport of tennis but mostly an incredible human being. I know Peter leaves footprints in many hearts around the world, far beyond the tennis court by the way he shared his knowledge, passion and enthusiasm, but above all, his selfless service. Today, my wife and I lost our friend and mentor and are so grateful for all the memorable and meaningful moments we have spent in the past 25 years together. He will be greatly missed, but I know his legacy will live on.”
PBI’s Vice President, Jeff Henkelman said: “Peter was a role model, mentor and a gifted leader who shared his clear vision that true happiness is found in the service of others. He created a culture that inspired those in his company to not only be better professionals but more importantly, better people. Peter believed strongly that we have a limited capacity to take but an unlimited capacity to give. Peter’s contribution to tennis is undeniable but the impact on all those who knew him is immeasurable. Peter’s passing is a tremendous loss to the world, but his legacy will be carried on by all those he has inspired.
Troon President and CEO Tim Schantz said: “On behalf of the entire Troon family, we are deeply saddened by the passing of Peter and offer our condolences to Lynn, Kimberley and Skyler. Peter is a tennis icon, responsible for growing the game on all levels, while exuding his love for the sport to everyone he came in contact with. The world lost a great person, however his legacy will live on for generations to come.”
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An excellent article but there are 2 items that need to be highlighted:
1) Peter is in the University of Toronto Sports Hall of Fame as a contributing member of the 1965-66 ‘Varsity Blues’ HOCKEY team, and
2) There was no better TV commentator than Birdie: ??, articulate and a CV??
Bob Awrey, Captain
1965-66 Varsity ‘Hockey’ Blues
Canadian Intercollegiate Hockey Champions
Looking for a French and German translation of Peter Burwash’s book Tennis for Life. Any idea and what the titles are in French and in German? thanks